Tell a Friend

Woolly Green Useful Info Logo
Woolly Green shop chalkboard logo

Pruning tips

Pruning seems to be one of those things that gets new gardeners into a bit of a tizzy, so it’s worth bearing in mind that plants don’t actually need to be pruned at all.

Why Prune?

There are a few reasons why taking some time to prune your plants is worthwhile:

  • The plant is getting out of shape
  • All the leaves and growth is at the top, with bare stems at the bottom
  • There’s a lot of dead wood in the plant
  • It’s not flowering at all, or as well as it should
  • The leaves used to be variegated, but some of them are growing through green now

Vineyard pruning
If you never pruned your plants, they wouldn’t die, it’s just they might look a bit unkempt and perhaps might not flower as much as you’d like them to. So don’t feel too stressed about it. If you either forget, do it at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, you can almost always put it right in the future.

When to Prune?

As a general rule how and when you should prune a plant is based on how it grows:

Winter or spring flowering climbers, roses and shrubs  generally flower on old wood – i.e. which grew last year. Prune them after flowering, so they can grow more stems straight away to flower on next year.

Summer or autumn flowering climbers, roses and shrubs generally flower on new wood, so to encourage as much new growth as possible, prune them in the late winter, just before they begin to grow in the spring. Leave it as late as possible so that the new shoots don’t get damaged by frost. Check here for frost dates in the UK.

How to Prune?

Before you get going, here are 3 general tips:

1) Use a sharp pair of secateurs, or tree loppers, or a pruning saw.

2) Cut just above a nice looking bud that’s facing out from the centre of the plant

3) Try to slope the cut away from the bud, so that the water runs off.

photo credit: comprock